Police, Empowerment Zone CEO agree to sit down after viral video

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 11:17 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - You may have seen the exchange between a South Bend Police Officer and the CEO of the South Bend Empowerment Zone circulating on social media.

On April 21, the officer was responding to a threat of gun violence at Coquillard Elementary School a day prior, when he was asked to leave by Dr. Cheryl Camacho.

The exchange has gone viral on social media, with thousands of views and comments.

Camacho said it has been “painful.”

“My asking for clarity around an officer’s visit to a school, which is my job, is being framed as anti-police,” she said.

Camacho said she will stop anyone who looks unfamiliar.

“It’s not that an officer makes a random stop and can go into any school at any time he wants. He or she still checks in with the office staff and has to be buzzed in just like any other citizen would,” said President of FOP 36, Harvey Mills.

The police department has served schools for more than 35 years.

Officers said it is normal practice to do walk-throughs in buildings, as it is one way they keep kids safe.

“I want to reiterate my appreciation for our officers...,” Camacho said.

Moving forward, both parties want to sit down to talk to one another.

“We wouldn’t mind sitting down at the table with her and sharing some of our experiences,” Mills said.

“I believe there is a role for police in maintaining school safety and I hope to sit together with the appropriate leaders of the South Bend Police Department,” Camacho said.

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